"Since the hour of death cannot be forecast, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, you spend time with your loved ones--go to a movie together, get ice cream, go out to dinner or to breakfast or have a picnic in the park and tell them that you love them every day."
Isn't that beautiful? What wonderful words those are to reflect the values of someone who loved life.
Anyway, reading that again set me to wondering: do you ever think about your own funeral?
You younger readers may find this topic morbid (I'm sure my daughters do), but I'll bet those of you nearer my own age have given it some thought. I thought about it quite a bit when I first retired, mostly because my diet back then (eat as much as you want of whatever you want) was making me sick. I did come to a few conclusions:
I want to be cremated. That's for sure. And I don't want the funeral home to make one more dime off of my dead body than is absolutely essential. One reason I don't want to be buried is that I hate making wardrobe decisions and don't want anyone to have to do that on my behalf. I don't know how it's been in your family, but for some reason the tradition in my family has been to bury the women in beautiful nightclothes, as if they're going to Heaven to sleep, and to bury the men in suits, as if they'll have business to tend to on the other side of the Pearly Gates. What's the deal with that? I certainly wouldn't want to be buried in my nightgown, but being buried in casual clothing doesn't seem appropriate, and I have no interest in getting all gussied up in the kind of fancy dress I rarely wear anymore. Nope, cremation it is.
I haven't figured out where I'd like my ashes to be scattered. Really, anyplace with a lot of trees would be fine. I
The idea of burial--even of ashes--raises the issue of money again. Burial plots are expensive. Accordingly, I have an idea for a compromise. There's a beautiful new cemetery a few miles down the road from where I live. Its offices are in a lovely antebellum home that used to be owned by a doctor, and its neatly trimmed grounds are shaded with live oak trees. It wouldn't be a bad place to be buried, but I'd be surprised if it isn't some of the most costly real estate around here. I've jokingly suggested to my daughters that, if they feel they need a grave to visit, they visit that cemetery, look around, pick out an existing grave that seems nice to them, and remember the name on the tombstone. Later, they can make a second visit to that gravestone--it would probably be a nice touch to take some flowers--and surreptitiously sprinkle my ashes in the grass right there. They could visit whenever they wanted and save a lot of money in the bargain.
I don't especially want a traditional funeral, either, but a small memorial service would be nice. I realize that the presence of friends and family at some sort of ceremony provides comfort--and a small measure of closure--to those left behind. During that period of ill health I referred to above, I even picked out some songs that I'd like to be played at my memorial service. I chose the songs for different reasons: a) I love them; or b) there's a message in there somewhere; and c) they're beautiful enough that my family will probably enjoy them and remember them, but it's not likely anyone will hear these songs on the radio at random times and unexpectedly feel sad again. (I had intended to make a CD of those songs, but then I started feeling a whole lot better and haven't had time to get around to it. Putting that on my to-do list now.)
I know everybody has different ideas about this subject, but people rarely talk about it, and I'm curious. So, if you've thought about things like this, are you willing to share those thoughts? If so, you can do it in a comment here, or, if you want to turn it into a blog post of your own, how about leaving a comment to let us know where to look for it?